There is a reason the gyms are jam-packed at the beginning of each new year, followed by a steady decline as the year progresses. It’s because we like the idea of making changes for the better, but many of us struggle with how to effectively implement those changes long-term. We all know this song and dance. We start out super motivated, ready to take on the world! But then slowly we find our energy levels and motivation towards our goals dwindling until we finally just give up completely. So, how do we break the cycle? How can you make changes which will actually stick? It’s actually easier than you might think and if you keep reading, I am going to tell you my TOP THREE tips for making small changes which will yield BIG results.
Set Attainable Goals
I am all about shooting for the stars, dreaming big, sky’s the limit… BUT.. before you reach your BIG goal you actually have to achieve smaller goals along the way first. This is true with just about anything you set out to achieve in life. For example, if you want to quit smoking, instead of stopping cold turkey, wean yourself off. If you set a goal to gradually decrease each week, this is going to be much more effective than if you just stop and deprive yourself completely. Maybe you want to eat healthier? Same concept. Instead of deciding every single meal from this point forward is going to be healthy and organic, start with one meal at a time. One meal becomes two, and so forth. If you want to lose weight, don’t get fixated on the big number but instead focus on just getting yourself to work out at least one time a week, then once you’ve mastered that, 2x a week. If you want to stop drinking coffee, start decreasing your caffeine intake slowly vs. cutting it out cold-turkey. If you want to be more social, start with trying to reach out to one friend per week to touch base to ease your way into this vs. throwing yourself into a big party where you’ll feel uncomfortable the entire time and remember why you avoid these types of things in the first place.
See where I am going with us? Small, attainable, and manageable goals are going to increase the likelihood of you actually achieving the goals you set out to achieve because they are actually going to be doable. This will also improve your self-confidence around your ability to achieve goals, and you’ll start to see results which will motivate you even further to keep going. When we set too big of a goal, we usually don’t see results right away and that starts to make us feel defeated. Does this concept seem too easy? It is. So why isn’t everyone doing it? Because we tend to think of change as something big and drastic when in realty, that doesn’t always need to be the case. You’ll see bigger results with smaller changes than you would with one big change.
Shift Your Mindset
Ah, mindset. If you follow my blog or follow my accounts you know I just love talking about mindset. The reason I love it so much is because it’s so effective, so helpful, and so powerful. When we go into any goal with ambivalence, anxiety, fear, or doubt we are setting ourselves up for failure. Change, no matter how big or small, is going to be scary. But scary does not = impossible. In fact, quite the opposite. Scary can actually motivate us and inspire us because scary means we are stepping outside of our comfort zones and that is when change happens. You’ve heard it before, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If you want something in your life to be different, then you need to do something different.
If you are looking to make a change in your life, the first thing you need to do is think about why you want to make this change. Is this change for you or for someone else? The reason that this is so important is because if you are not wholeheartedly invested in making a change then it doesn’t matter what you do, the change either won’t happen or you’ll slip right back into old habits. You need to be the driving force. That is step 1 in shifting your mindset. The next step is actually believing you can achieve the goal. Envision yourself caffeine or nicotine free and what your life would look like. Envision yourself at your goal weight and how your health will have improved as a result. Envision yourself in a social setting with your friends, having the best time. Once you actually envision your life with these changes implemented, you start to shift the mindset from “I wish..” to “I CAN.” From “one day..” to “TODAY.” From “If only..” to “I WILL.” Believing is achieving and this can sound as wooey or Tony Robbins as you’d like but the reality is change can’t happen without mindset shifts. Plain and simple.
Keep A Journal
Journaling is something I recommend to everyone, especially those who are trying to make positive changes in their lives. When I make this recommendation, what I am often met with is either rolling of the eyes or the classic, “I don’t really like to write…” So, if you fall into either of those categories then this next part is especially important for you to pay attention to. Journaling is one of the easiest, yet effective tools you can use to make big changes in your life.
- Journaling helps you stay on track with your goals because if you’re writing them down, you are holding yourself accountable, making your goals a reality, AND shifting your mindset !
- Journaling allows you the opportunity to stop and be mindful of the task at hand (I.e. writing) without distractions. This is incredibly important because lets face it, life is busy and hectic and it’s easy to let the hustle and bustle distract us from our goals. So allowing yourself that time to sit and reflect is going to be so important.
- Journaling provides you with an outlet to express any feelings, emotions, barriers, or challenges you’re currently experiencing. Like I mentioned earlier, change is scary and if it were easy to implement change, I wouldn’t be writing this post. So, having a space to reflect on this journey is going to be helpful.
- Journaling will help you track your progress along the way as well as provides you a space to reflect back on major shifts. If you journal everyday for a month, 6 months, a year, and then go back and read what you’ve written, I guarantee you’ll be blown away with your progress. This is so important because day-to-day it can seem as though nothing has changed, but when we look back overtime, we realize a great deal has changed.
If you’re reading this and thinking journaling in itself is going to need to be a goal for you, then great! Make it a goal because this practice is going to have long-term benefits for you! It truly is so effective AND here is the best part, you don’t need to write a novel every time or spend hours doing this. It can be as simple as one sentence each day. For example: “Today I went to the gym,” “Today I drank 1 cup of coffee instead of 2,” or “I struggled with my motivation today.” You get my point. I personally love journaling and have incorporated it into my daily routine for some time now. I even did an entire post on the benefits of gratitude journaling, which you can read here if you want to learn more about this!
Remember, you are absolutely capable of making changes and reaching the goals you set for yourself. There will always be barriers and difficulties along the way, but you can absolutely achieve anything you set your mind to, despite those challenges. If you implement these three small steps into your life, you are going to allow yourself to make BIG changes.
Are you ready?
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